What Actions Can the U.S. Take To Advance Understanding With Muslims of the World?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 21, 2009
Palestinians Watch President Obama's Speech on Television

Today, President Obama delivered a Ramadan message to extend best wishes to Muslims around the world.

Emphasizing America’s commitment to engage Muslims and Muslim-majority nations on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect, the President said, “In the last two months, American embassies around the world have reached out…directly to people in Muslim-majority countries. And from around the world, we have received an outpouring of feedback about how America can be a partner on behalf of peoples’ aspirations. We have listened. And…we are focused on pursuing concrete actions that will make a difference over time – both in terms of the political and security issues…and in the areas that you have told us will make the most difference in peoples’ lives.”

What concrete actions can the U.S. take to advance mutual understanding and respect with Muslims of the world?



New York, USA
August 23, 2009

Eilean in New York writes:

Travel to these places!

i.e. Increase student exchange programs to Muslim countries, and financial incentives that would enable more students to go.

New York, USA
August 23, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Muslims are not a Threat to the World...

This was the theme on the poster of a conference held at the President Hotel in Moscow, December 2000. I attended, and heard translation of Imam's remarks on the growing concern that the Muslim world was being misrepresented by extremist groups. Then came 9/11, and we are still at odds with the Muslim world. It is our resonsibility to interact, communicate, and make bridges with Muslim leaders in good faith. Moscow Conference 2010 :The US is not a Threat to the Muslim World.

Oklahoma, USA
August 23, 2009

Evan in Oklahoma writes:

I recently took a month long backpacking trip through the Arab world. Countries included Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine. It was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences I've ever been able to have, and greatly opened my eyes to what Muslim's are all about. I think if more people would venture away from their comfortable lives and take a trip to the Middle East they would see how wonderful these people truly are. They would be exposed to the greatest generosity they've ever experienced and would surely come home very humbled and grateful.

North Carolina, USA
August 23, 2009

Janet in North Carolina writes:

The Muslim people are a gentle people...we must not judge all by a few...we must reach out to all in our world.

Rodolfo C.
California, USA
August 23, 2009

Rodolfo C. in California writes:

The President is off to a good start. Mutual respect and understanding of others faiths can enhance friendships. Many know that the Muslim faith is as old as time and the history of Muslims and Cristians are not one of enlightenment. The only way one can come to agreements with religions this old is coming to acknowledge change. People cannot live in 15th century worlds we are evolving and so must the Muslim faith. Time waits for no man, and this dies not mean abandoning your faith just evolving into what the world is becoming.

The world is becoming smaller, many people will live in many countries as resources keep disolving. We cannot escape the fact that we will be living next to many religions as our world becomes a world with no borders. All we can do is respect one anothers views and let the politicians run the show with a close eye. Be weary of your actions and hopefully Muslims will know we are not the enemy who is killing their people but the same Muslims who declare war on America.

Georgia, USA
August 23, 2009

Sherry in Georgia writes:

The U.S. should show sensitivity to Muslim issues, try to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with a degree of justice for the Palestinians.

August 23, 2009

Sunshine in the Philippines writes:

1. stop the war
2. stop the war
3. stop the war

District Of Columbia, USA
August 23, 2009

Dawn in Washington writes:

I think more education about customs and similarities between us and how we can appreciate the differences. I think Americans have forgotten that we are a melting pot and that our forefathers wanted acceptance.

August 23, 2009

J.C. in Switzerland writes:

Leave them alone, don't mix-in, stop supporting USrael and behave ethically - that would HELP. Find Bin Laden or call of the waste of money in fighting against a myth. Life and peace is much more simple than you make us believe! Be honest - God exists! And... drop the FED!

New York, USA
August 23, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Take Full Responsibility.....

End the US-Xe (Blackwater) contracts. Ho are they any different than the Afghan-Taliban or Pakistan-ISI-AQI contracts?

Oregon, USA
August 23, 2009

Rahul in Oregon writes:

I think we should start investing in modern science based schooling in Muslim coutries rather than the traditional religious teaching at Madrasas.

A more progressive Muslim society will internally resist voilences committed against others by handful of brainwashed youths.

August 24, 2009

Lida in Turkey writes:

Thanks for the messages but I dont believe this messages. All messages just the writing stuff not a motional..I want to believe that but I dont....

District Of Columbia, USA
August 24, 2009

Jables in Washington, DC writes:

A friend of mine had a great idea about doing more youth outreach with American cultural items involved, i.e. karioke nights in Amman. I thought that was a good idea.

August 25, 2009

Sadiq in Nigeria writes:

Active engagement, this should involve participatory involvement of the U.S. in the proper and humane propagation of democratic values, globalization, an all encompassing form of governance that contains the exercising of traditional norms and strengthening areas of conflict through dialogue and interaction. Secretary Clinton caused a stir in my country because her message clearly reached the grassroots, this sort of smart direct reachable diplomacy should be encourage and supported. This will enhance more access and smooth interaction with the Muslim world

Iowa, USA
August 26, 2009

Derek in Iowa writes:

Increase citizen diplomacy programs to allow for more one on one interaction, student exchanges, study abroad, etc. The more opportunities we have to get together, the more we find we have in common and are able to understand each other's goals and ambitions. Citizen diplomacy allows for a great understanding of not only each other's culture, but why the culture has come to where it is at now. The U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy has an Initiative for Citizen Diplomacy that advocates for this. www.uscenterforcitizendiplomacy.org if you are interested...very interesting idea and program.

New Mexico, USA
August 27, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Referencing the briefing of Aug 27: http://www.state.gov/video/.

To P.J. Crowley: If there's a single specific issue that U.S. action could serve to promote understanding with the Muslim world in general, and the "conditions to get to negotiations" in the larger context of the 2 state solution and regional peace that is sustainable in resolving disputes ( the "process" if you will), the issue of settlements may represent the fulcrum point.

Not to render an additional layer of complexity, but I think I can remove the roadblock to negotiations in a mutually benificial manner to the parties.

If you'll allow the premis that 30 years of construction experience provides a vehicle for perspective, I'd like to propose the following:

Healthy sustainable construction is an economic asset, creates jobs, and brings prosperity into a community, and no-growth equals economic stagnation for any community.

So it may be unreasonable in hard economic times for Israel to go to a no-growth level on settlements.

That said, the enmity created among the Palestinian population by settlement expansion is poisonous to succesful negotiations.

P.J., I like trying to solve more than one problem at a time, and the "right of return" is one that cannot be adequately addressed until there are enough places to house people.

So a compromise is made, Israel can put a few construction workers back to work building housing on the future Palestinian state's lands for Palestinians to live in, with some of that international doner's money earmarked for reconstruction purposes, and is allowed "natural growth" for their communities in return.

If Israel were to agree to this, and subsequent evidence on the ground (or ground breaking) exists, then I think that would go a long way to convince her neighbors Israel was committed to meeting folks halfway to the negotiating table.

There's a couple additional things that might prove helpful in the long run, and one is that right or wrong (without taking sides) Israel has caused a lot of urban destruction.

I don't know how to get the Dept. of State to impress upon our friends the reason we have friendly relations with Germany and Japan today, is we lifted our enemies out of the rubble after the fighting was done.

Except express the obvious.

If the U.S. can bring the leadership of Israel to that understanding, I can say with a "high degree of confidence" that U.S. relations with the Muslim world will be reciprocative of greater respect, all the way around.

Including greater respect for Israel as a "partner in peace".

I would also like to refer the parties to take a look at the so-called "contiguous" nature of the state of New Mexico, in the hopes it may provide healthy inspiration.

We have a lot of wide open space here which helps, but we have nations within this single State of the United States of America all living side by side in peace and prosperity ( when the economy hasn't tanked that is, but it's generally peacefull even so).

You have the Navajo nation, many Pueblos with sovereign rights, and they all have their unique laws and local customs.

Then you have the decendants of Spanish conquistadors, who still live on land grants given centuries ago by the Spanish king, and recognised by the U.S. federal government when New Mexico became a state of the Union.

In my humble opinion, I think history will show that "complexity" is not in and of itself, a roadblock to resolution of conflict.

But we try to keep things simple.

We have our water rights battles, our land disputes, but they get resolved in a court of law, as we've grown up a bit since the days of the wild, wild West.

I don't pretend to have the answers for the parties PJ, but I figure if folks get busy building, they'll think twice before blowing it up again.

Hat tip to Matt Lee for honing in like a bloodhound on the finer points, it's really all his fault I came up with this "off the cuff" perspective at all...(chuckle).



Tennessee, USA
August 28, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

All faiths are centered on the individual and their relationship to a philosophy.

Therefore the individual and their core, or center, are the only significant parts of the process of any religion. All problems associated with any religion have always been externally created for use as a social impute control function, with either negative or positive development for the social state of the citizens in question, or for the benefit of Leadership in question. God is separate from religion...to deny that seems ludicrous. It lends to the "If everyone is right, then everyone is wrong" catch 22.

Simply put, do the leaders want a developmental state or non developmental state for their people in the co existence of mankind? There is no longer any way to ignore the world and religion is only a tool for development or non development.

If you want to find God, look in the mirror...after all, it is the people who reflect His spirituality, regardless of religion.

We need to stop using religion as an excuse for negative dialogue...


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